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Frog Lab

Biology 11


Purpose: to observe the external and internal structures of a frog (Amphibian)

Dissecting kit
Frog specimen
Dissecting tray
1. Put on safety goggles, gloves, and a lab apron.
2. Place a frog on a dissection tray. To determine the frogs sex, look at the
hand digits, or fingers, on its forelegs. A male frog usually has thick pads
on its "thumbs," which is one external difference between the sexes, as
shown in the diagram below. Male frogs are also usually smaller than
female frogs. Observe several frogs to see the difference between males
and females.

3. Use the diagram below to locate and identify the external features of the
head. Find the mouth, external nares, tympani, eyes, and
nictitating membranes.

4. Turn the frog on its back and pin down the legs. Cut the hinges of the
mouth and open it wide. Use the diagram below to locate and identify the
structures inside the mouth. Use a probe to help find each part: the
vomerine teeth, the maxillary teeth, the internal nares, the tongue,
the openings to the Eustachian tubes, the esophagus, the pharynx,
and the slit-like glottis.

5. Look for the opening to the frogs cloaca, located between the hind legs.
Use forceps to lift the skin and use scissors to cut along the center of the
body from the cloaca to the lip. Turn back the skin, cut toward the side at
each leg, and pin the skin flat. The diagram above shows how to make
these cuts
6. Lift and cut through the muscles and breast bone to open up the body
cavity. If your frog is a female, the abdominal cavity may be filled with
dark-colored eggs. If so, remove the eggs on one side so you can see
the organs underlying them.
7. Use the diagram below to locate and identify the organs of the digestive
system: esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine,
cloaca, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

8. Again refer to the diagram above to identify the parts of the circulatory
and respiratory systems that are in the chest cavity. Find the left atrium,
right atrium, and ventricle of the heart. Find an artery attached to the
heart and another artery near the backbone. Find a vein near one of the
shoulders. Find the two lungs.
9. Use a probe and scissors to lift and remove the intestines and liver. Use
the diagram above to identify the parts of the urinary and reproductive
systems. Remove the peritoneal membrane, which is connective tissue
that lies on top of the red kidneys. Observe the yellow fat bodies that are
attached to the kidneys. Find the ureters; the urinary bladder; the
testes and sperm ducts in the male; and the ovaries, oviducts, and
uteri in the female.
10. Remove the kidneys and look for threadlike spinal nerves that
extend from the spinal cord. Dissect a thigh, and trace one nerve into a
leg muscle. Note the size and texture of the leg muscles.

11. Dispose of your materials according to the directions from your


1. What is the function of the nictitating membrane?
Answer: To give protection for the eye.
2. A frog does not chew its food. What do the positions of its teeth
suggest about how the frog uses them?
Answer: To hold their food while they eat it.
3. Trace the path of food through the digestive tract.
Answer: Mouth, to the Esophagus, to the Stomach, to the Intestine, to the
4. Trace the path of blood through the circulatory system, starting
at the right atrium.
Answer: Right Atrium



Left Atrium or Right Atrium

Other Arteries

, then the Circulatory System

5. Trace the path of air through the respiratory system.

Answer: Mouth



6. Trace the paths of sperm in a male and eggs in a female.

Answer: Reproductive glands


7. Trace the path of urine in both sexes.

Answer: Kidney



8. Which parts of the frogs nervous system can be observed in its

abdominal cavity and hind leg?
Answer: It is a hollow nerve cord and other nerves.

9. Suppose in a living frog the spinal nerves extending to the leg

muscles were cut. What ability would the frog lose? Why?
Answer: The frog then wouldnt be able to jump as the nerves that get the
instruction to jump wouldnt be there anymore.
10. The abdominal cavity of a frog at the end of hibernation
season would contain very small fat bodies or none at all. What is
the function of the fat bodies?
Answer: It stores energy for hibernation or for creating better eggs. It is
also to help the frog float on water.
11. Structures in an animals body that help it survive in the
environment are called adaptations. How do the frogs powerful
hind legs help it survive in water and on land?
Answer: They use their legs to propel themselves over water as well as to
hop (move) on land.
12. During one mating, the female lays between 2,000 & 3,000
eggs in water and the male sheds millions of sperm over them.
How do these large numbers relate to the frogs ability to survive
in water?
Answer: Because of predators, many tadpoles do not survive. Through
fertilizing thousands of eggs, the frogs population is more successful as
more tadpoles would survive.